Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 2.12

Posted by harmony0stars on January 22, 2010

Up until the door slid shut, Glory had been thinking the tunnels or rather tunnel, since they’d yet to reach a branch of any kind, wasn’t nearly so bad as the draug’s cavern. It seemed almost a natural cleft in the stone. Only its relatively straight course and the evenness of the floor betrayed its artificial origin, though there were no tool marks on the walls or floor. Mineral growth had begun to obscure the otherwise smooth stone proving the tunnel was far more ancient than one might think.

Once the door closed behind them and plunged them into absolute darkness, Mrs Jacoby grabbed Glory’s arm and let out a sharp little cry which was echoed almost derisively by the ghoul. Glory really couldn’t tell if he was mocking the woman or simply excited to be free. No doubt being a subterranean species, he could see in the dark or had other means of finding his way. Ehecatl and his daughter would also have no problems in the dark, with their ability to see heat. The cinder-man didn’t have eyes, but that didn’t seem to stop him from seeing. Which left Glory and Mrs Jacoby in the dark. Why hadn’t she thought to bring a flashlight?

There was no way of knowing if the sword would even respond, but it wasn’t as if she had a lot of choices. Suppressing a sigh of exasperation, she turned her attention inwards and  reached out to the thing. Like a sullen child, it seemed to roll over and give her the cold shoulder. Look! It’s not my fault you’re inside me, you know! she thought at it in frustration. If Aaron had asked me, I’d have refused. It’s not like I don’t have enough problems!

A tumult of emotions threatened to drown her as the thing lashed out at her in… what? reproach? offense? Why should it care what she thought of it, considering neither one of them had chosen their partnership? Regardless of the whys, she’d definitely insulted it as it empathically berated her for her lack of gratitude, threw its sulk at her like a glass of water to the face, lashed out at her with its injured pride, seemed to storm away in irate fury only to return to scream indignantly in her psychic ‘ear’… like a child throwing a tantrum.

There was something strangely familiar about the entity now that she was finally meeting it face to, er, face or whatever. Was it just that she’d been carrying it around with her for so long that she’d subconsciously come to know it? That didn’t seem right, and it as much as told her so, reading her thoughts and responding to them almost before she finished them. With their tenuous contact, it didn’t seem to be capable of words, but its emotional response to her thoughts was enough to confirm her inner musings.

Who are you? she wondered in confusion, and that seemed to be the question it had been waiting for. Memories not her own overwhelmed her mind with alien sensations… swimming/flying/dancing in the outer atmosphere of a wandering star… Korvaz now called Cthugha, an enormous star chained to a black hole that slowly ate it alive. Where there had once been the musical play of solar winds on the atmosphere of the worlds Korvaz passed, now there was only the insane screaming of a sentient star slowly consumed by the shackles the Elder Gods had placed on it. Cthugha consumed anything it could burn in order to extend its existence until a time it could seek revenge for its imprisonment. That’s all it could think of… its own pain and retribution on those responsible.

But that was just the beginning. The thing inside her… It had no name, or It had many names not Its own. Unlike Its brethren standing only a few feet away, It had parted from their progenitor not long before the judgment of the Elder Gods, and It had no desire to return to suffering… The Elder Gods had given It a boon and let It remain on Earth for services It had rendered in their battle with Its parent and the Old Ones, allowing It to pass Its time in exile sheathed in human flesh.

For all that It could spend centuries in a human body before being passed to the next, or for that matter stay in one body forever, the lives of Its human hosts flew past so quickly that she could barely differentiate them. At first It had been nearly a slave to Its human hosts, a cruel trick played on It by the Elder Gods who had not wished to allow It too much freedom among primitive man. Some of Its hosts, the earliest, had been barbaric and cruel, unleashing the fire inside them as an act of savage destruction…later other hosts became protectors, guardians, using the fire to cleanse what they saw as impurities or obscenities of the natural order… eradicating entire tribes of sentient beings. Slowly as centuries became millennia, It had learned the ways of the human psyche. It became a “he“ as his hosts had been almost uniformly male, and at last he learned to manipulate his hosts.

A-ha! Glory thought in triumph. I thought so!

He snarled and spat at her psychically, forcing the rest of his memories on her. Though he was a being of savage conflagration, and in his earliest days, conquest, the longer he spent with his human hosts, the more human he became in his reasonings. He began to assert more control over them, no longer simply a tool to be used, but a part of them. Though they never realized it even as they passed the creature on, for all intents and purposes, he was not merely a separate part of them. He lived and felt everything they felt, a dual personality that observed and functioned on a higher level than normal human consciousness. His carrier might decide to pass him on to a new host, but it was only by his silent agreement that it was possible. He exploited their altruistic tendencies, throwing them in harm’s way when he decided to make them better despite themselves. At first it had been in order to harvest the lifeforce of less desirable humans without taking their memories, avoiding that intimate taint that was the hallmark and downfall of his kind.

Over the eons though, he had discovered that he didn’t have to take life to survive. Living creatures were capable of restoring their own lifeforce given enough time. His presence only enhanced the phenomena, giving his hosts energy in abundance from which to refuel their lifeforce, allowing it refuel itself indefinitely at a relatively small price to itself. Though it seemed like a paradoxical situation to Glory, he wasn’t lying. She was sure of it. A few hours, days at most, and whatever energies its host used up were restored by the nature of their bond. Why did it kill then? The thrill of the act was inescapably a part of his nature and it did allow him to restore his energies that much faster. And by killing those that humanity and his host specifically deemed evil, was he not doing a service to his adopted race? In this way, was he not, by human definition, good?

to Book 5, part 2, page 13


4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 2.12”

  1. here2read said

    Oh this is good… or by human definition, good? LOL
    I like there this is going.

  2. Richard said

    New site settings and picture? Now I can not change the type size in Explorer. As the picture appers to control the width. This is making your wrighting much harder to read. Hope you can fix this. Thanks Richard

    • harmony0stars said

      OK… let me know if this is better. WordPress has a limited number of Themes for me to choose from and won’t let me edit CSS unless I pay for an upgrade. I don’t think it was the picture that was the problem, but rather the limit placed on the entry size.

      Anyway, I hope this works for you. Colors aren’t as dynamic, but it seems readable to me. I use Firefox though, so that may be a factor. If there’s still a problem, I could try making the type larger as a rule on my end and see if that helps.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

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